Perfecting Your Potato Salad

A potato salad can be created to accompany the simplest and also the most elegant of meals. The ingredients that are paired together can span a wide range of vegetables, seasonings, and dressings, making each salad unique and delicious.

Which Potato to use?

Right from the start you have an assortment to choose from.  You can stick with a very basic russet, which is considered a dry potato, or you can opt for a moister potato, including a new or waxy potato such as reds, Yukon Golds, purple potatoes, heirloom fingerlings, and many others.  Each has their own benefit: the moisture content, the color and the flavor, which is often subtle and hard to detect when combined with other ingredients and dressing.  Let’s not forget sweet potatoes that are frequently used in making salads and which are always very moist, colorful and certainly, in their case, bold and dominant flavor.  

How to cook potatoes?

A salad can be made with potatoes that have been baked, the either smashed or cubed.  Or the potatoes can be boiled whole and then cut or cubed and then boiled.  In my opinion it is always easier to cook something whole and then break it down to the desired cut.  The one caution would be when cooking sweet potatoes.  These potatoes can get too soft rather quickly and when mixed with other ingredients they become indistinguishable and messy.  If you are using sweet potatoes, cut them into cubes when raw, then roast.

What about the dressing?  

This is where things get interesting.  You can use a creamy style dressing or you can use clear dressings that allow the color of each ingredient to shine through.  

What combinations and ingredients to use?

Here’s where I suggest a trip online.  Type in the ingredients that you have on hand and see what the search provides.  Some of my favorite combinations over the years are new potatoes with green beans or asparagus, black olives, roasted red peppers, scallions and hard-boiled eggs with a clear dressing powered by a little lemon zest and juice.  Another favorite has new potatoes with peas, small cubes of cheddar cheese, celery, green onions, and hard-boiled eggs, dressed in a richer, creamy dressing with sour cream and a hint of mustard.  Frequently I make a sweet potato salad with cubes of roasted sweet potatoes, dill pickles, hard-boiled eggs, celery and red onion, with a mustard dressing, very similar to the standard “potato salad” but with sweet potatoes instead.  You can see that I have a love for hard-boiled eggs in potato salad.  They are not a must, but I love the texture, nutrition, and the creaminess that they add to just about anything.  

Remember too that you can use any combination of potatoes.  A salad with Yukon Golds and purple potatoes is impressive!  Or sweet potatoes and reds.  Just be sure to cook each variety separately, as they all have different densities and will cook at different rates.    


German Potato Salad

Indulge in the warm and savory delight of German Potato Salad. This dish combines crispy bacon and sautéed onions with a tangy, slightly sweet dressing made from a blend of simple ingredients. Roasted red potatoes are then tossed in this luscious mixture, creating a perfect balance of flavors. Serve this hearty salad warm, and it’s sure to be a hit at any gathering, offering a comforting and satisfying experience with every bite.


8 oz. bacon, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 tbsp. flour

2 tbsp. sugar

1⁄2 tsp. celery seed

1⁄2 tsp. black pepper

2⁄3 cup water

1⁄3 cup apple cider vinegar

2 1⁄2 lb. red potatoes, roasted and cut into 1⁄2-in. Dice

Optional: parsley or chives for garnish, chopped


  1. In large sauté pan, cook bacon until crisp. Remove pieces with slotted spoon, reserving drippings in pan. Sauté onion in drippings 5 min., until translucent. Whisk in flour to make a roux.
  2. Stir sugar, celery seed, and pepper into roux; add water and vinegar and bring to a simmer. Stir until dressing is thickened and smooth; remove from heat.
  3. In large bowl, combine bacon and potatoes. Add dressing and toss to mix. Serve warm.  Garnish with parsley or chives, optional.

Hungry for more? Check out Chef doughty’s book; The Chef Within Dinner Edition.  Find more information and order your copy online here:

Meet Chef Doughty

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We know her as part owner of Silvercreek Realty Group and the smiling face behind the brokerage accounting department, but did you know that Joyce Doughty has an affinity for culinary arts?

Chef Doughty is a successful food writer and restaurateur who hosted the nationally syndicated daily Public Radio food program “Food for Thought” for 17 years and was also host of the local ABC affiliate morning program “In the Kitchen” highlighting practical recipes and techniques for the kitchen. Recipient of the James Beard Foundation Top Three Chefs in Idaho Award and owner and chef of Idaho’s critically acclaimed Doughty’s Bistro. Chef Doughty was trained at Le Cordon Bleu and received her executive chef certification from the American Culinary Foundation.